Ngin Chhay, the director-general of the General Directorate of Agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, on Thursday urged the private sector to set up more mango packaging plants that comply with South Korea and China’s hygiene and quality standards.
He made the appeal at a press conference on Thursday while South Korea and China are conducting feasibility studies to import fresh mangoes from Cambodia.
“I call on the private sector to invest in hygiene, packaging standards, and setting up more factories so that Cambodia can export mangoes. We expect that we can export some 600,000 tonnes of mangoes a year from 2023,” he said.
He said to export mangoes to China, Cambodia needed to have packaging facilities and hygiene standards that meet international norms.
“China is the largest mango market in the world, but so far Cambodia has not been able to export fresh mangoes to China because of the strict hygiene conditions that we have to fulfil.
“So, without factories that meet high food safety standards, we will not be able to penetrate the Chinese market,” Chhay said.
According to him, Cambodia only has one mango plant which has a low disinfection capacity of between 30 and 40 tonnes, and is unable to meet the current mango export demand.
“We need to export at least 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes a day during the harvest season,” he said.
On November 24, the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China had given Cambodian mangoes the “good quality”rating. However, the Chinese team is set to make another assessment of the food safety standards of Cambodian mangoes by January 2020.
Cambodia has also been authorised to export mangoes to South Korea, starting from the end of December.
Angkor Mango general manager Vann Rithy, who is a mango trader and exporter, told The Post on Monday that China is a huge, high-demand and high-value market.
Hence, if the Kingdom were to be given the green light to export mangoes, it will contribute to economic growth.
At present, Cambodian mangoes are also being exported indirectly to China through Vietnam and Thailand.
He said: “When we can directly export our mangoes to China, it will benefit us in terms of increasing export value as we would not need to rely on third parties [for food processing and packaging].”
Chhay said by last year, Cambodia had exported more than 100,000 tonnes of fresh mangoes and more than 50,000 tonnes of processed mango products to Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, France and Russia.
Cambodia’s mango cultivation area is more than 100,000ha and the provinces with the highest quality mango are Kampong Speu, Battambang, Kampot and Banteay Meanchey.